With that being said, and as you may have gleaned from my opening statement, We were all VERY disappointed this week. The King had done his research and was really excited about going to Chef Tam’s Underground cafe. He does not get excited often, so when he is, I am too.
Chef Tam’s seems to be a pretty popular spot. Its usual buzz plus the additional attention from the restaurant being featured as a part the annual Memphis Black Restaurant week had cars parked every-which-way and lines from the front desk to the door. Unfortunately, the Crown Prince couldn’t make it this trip, but that did eliminate us having to wait. The three of us were able to sit down right away at one of the communal tables. It was a tight fit, but everyone was nice, and we all made it work.
Enough about all that. Here’s what we had…
- Appetizers: Fried Green Tomatoes, Southwestern Eggrolls
- Fried Ribs w/ Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes (The Little Prince had fries with his)
- Fried Catfish w/ Sweet Potatoes and Fried Okra
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- “Peach Cobbler” Nachos
Fried Green Tomatoes: King (1.5/5) Me(4/5)
The King and I had a difference in opinion over these. I liked them. He likes soft, flour-battered fried green tomatoes. I don’t care as long as the meal or batter isn’t burnt, too oily, or too salty. These were neither of those things. The batter was cornmeal-based and seasoned well, and I could actually taste the sour “greenness” of the tomato — which I love. Apparently, it’s hard to preserve the true flavor of green tomatoes because I’ve had many that taste watery. Chef Tam hooked these up– at least my taste buds thought so.
Southwestern Eggrolls: King(4/5) Me(4/5)
The King told me not to even review these because he doesn’t feel that they were homemade. He feels that they were pre-prepared and just heated up. Perhaps, but they were still good, and that’s a lot for me to say because I usually don’t eat them when they are served at other places. We took the ailing Crown Prince some home, and he thought they were the best thing since sliced bread.
Fried Ribs: King(0/5) Me(0/5)
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! I almost can’t even stomach to write about it. These literally made the Crown Prince gag. I’ve never had a fried rib, and if this is what they taste like, I’ll never have another, BUT I’m not sure this is how they
First, let me tell you what I found RIGHT about the ribs: the meat was tender.
Now, let me tell you what I found WRONG with the ribs. It really tasted as though the grease was old and scorched. The grease had overstepped its boundary. The ribs might have been seasoned perfectly at some point in the game, but I’ll never know because
Friday Night Live [Fried Catfish]: King(2/5) Me(3/5)
It was fried catfish. It wasn’t bad. It was seasoned okay. There was something with the batter that wouldn’t let it be great for me. Maybe it was just that it was fried too hard. I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Green Beans: King(3/5) Me(4.5/5)
So, the King saw a review where the person said she thought the beans came from a can. Uh, I really don’t care where they came from. The beans were good. That person said they tasted like “can”. If they did, they tasted like
Sweet Potatoes: King(3/5) Me (3.5/5)
I won’t say much about them, except they were good. The Crown Prince says that mine are better, but hey, I didn’t have to cook them, so, again, they were good to me. They were just a little sweeter than I like mine — they were actually more candied, but they were also buttery and with the right amount of cinnamon.
Fried Okra: King(2.5/5) Me(3/5)
The King didn’t see the need to review these either because he feels that they were just warmed up out of a bag somewhere. Maybe. They tasted just like the ones we get from Captain D’s. I mean there wasn’t anything spectacular about them, but they certainly weren’t bad either.
Salted Caramel Pie: King(3.5/5) Me (did not taste)
Okay, by the time we got here, I did even want to taste pie, so y’all KNOW I was fed up. Also, by the time we got here, I was uncomfortable and ready to go. The King is going to have to insert his own piece here, but I do know that the Princes thought it was amazing. That’s actually saying a lot because they are not big cheesecake fans.
Peach “Cobbler” Nachos: King(N/A) Me (-1/5)
Look here, when you tell me something about a fruit cobbler, I’m here for it, mmkay. Do NOT play with my emotions. When I think cobbler, my mind goes back to my GRANDMAMA and Great “
You may not be able to see it clearly, but at the bottom of the picture above, is one of the prettiest dessert plates I’ve seen. Unfortunately for me, and my stomach, looks were deceiving, and we are both STILL very upset.
First of all, here’s the gist of what I perceive the dish to be: a base of something that looked like pita chips, topped with a can of peaches and ice cream. The syrup from the peaches flowed down,
I wish the word “cobbler” had been in quotation marks on the menu, then I probably wouldn’t have had any expectation except there’d be peaches somewhere in it. Now, I certainly can’t say there’s not somebody out there for this dessert, but I can certainly say it isn’t me.
Overall: King(2.5/5) Me(2.5/5)
So as far as value, I really can’t say. I can say that the amount of food we got for the price was generous. Because of the way the menu was set up for Memphis Black Restaurant Week, the menu was limited, and we were forced to get things we may not have wanted. Like, you had to choose three courses — although it was a good deal. Three courses was only $25. The only thing is, the Little Prince didn’t want an appetizer, neither did he really want a dessert. This time I really didn’t want either one of the appetizers or desserts they had listed for the week, but hey, we both got to try something new.
The restaurant is based in an older home near the Liberty Bowl Stadium, so the dining area is quaint and cozy. We found the restaurant to be clean and inviting with warm, nostalgic touches throughout. The staff is friendly for the most part. Even with the rush, there were mostly smiling faces, which I really admired because it’s easy to get flustered and snappy when you’re overwhelmed, but they seem to be used to the fast pace. There was one young lady who was a little nice-nasty, but hey, our waitress was super chill and helpful, so I took all the rest in stride.
The rush that comes along with Memphis Black Restaurant Week may have had something to do with our experience; I’m not sure. I mean, I know that Chef Tam is an award-winning Chef and was the winner of Guy’s Grocery Games, and her restaurant is pretty popular among Memphians, so she clearly knows what she’s doing. Like I always say though, different strokes for different folks. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be a match for each other, and that’s okay. I pray that she continues to experience great success!
Have you been here? What are your thoughts? Have any suggestions on where to go next? Let us know in the comments. Until next time, eat good and be blessed!